[T]he latest instalment of ‘Game of Stones’ returns to the Lake District on Saturday August 19, with the Northern ‘kingdom’ having recently gained much power, thanks to the granting of World Heritage Site status.
The All-England Stone Skimming Championships will see a fierce battle for supremacy being waged, as reigning ‘ruler’ of the toss, Ron Long, takes on all-comers, which will include two-times champion Kevin Waltham and new stone lord from recent championships in Shropshire, Alex Lewis. Ron’s all-conquering performance in the Welsh Stone Skimming Championships this year could, however, be an omen of things to come!
Anyone brave enough to chance their arm at challenging him, against the backdrop of the Lakeland fells around Windermere – the new World Heritage Site’s largest lake – may do so, at a very small charge. Monies raised go to organisers, South Cumbria Rivers Trust (SCRT), to fund vital conservation work in the South Lakes.
Have-a-go heroes of all stone ages and abilities will get a warm Windermere welcome at the ‘battleground’ at National Trust Fell Foot Park. A female powerhouse and two junior champions will also be crowned at the event, which runs from 11am to 4pm. The junior categories are for under-11s and 11-16 year-olds and no previous experience of stone battle is required.
Whilst the SCRT judges show their metal in all weathers, National Trust rangers will be entertaining all the family with activities based around stones and the great outdoors. There will also be hearty ales on hand from Coniston Brewery, a barbecue and various stalls to browse
New sponsor ‘Kendalife’ will be giving visitors samples of its new nutritious superfruit smoothie packed with 24 vitamins and minerals, 15g of protein and 55g of real fruit per serving – just the boost some competitors may need, or the meal replacement dedicated judges may require whilst adjudicating through lunch. Made in Kendal, by FSB and Worldpay ‘Business of the Year 2017’, Kendal Nutricare, it will launch in the UK in late summer, so this will be a sneak preview of what’s to come.
Entry to the championships costs £1 for a child and £3 for an adult. Having paid their dues, each stone warrior has the opportunity to make three stones count when it comes to getting into official English sporting record books. Each stone must skip on the water a minimum of three times, and within the tournament ‘lane’ as laid out on the water, to register a distance and the winner is then judged on the length of throw achieved.
There is nothing to be lost, other than pride, for those who enter the championships and sometimes the worse the throw the more the amusement, especially for the gathered hoards on the lakeshore.
Julius Barratt, a trustee of South Cumbria Rivers Trust says: “Our wondrous ‘game of stones’ event in the Northern Kingdom should lure anyone in search of national sporting glory, and tempting prizes besides, and allow us to show the indomitable spirit of stone skimmers, who turn out in all weathers and are deterred by nothing.
“This is the first year that our equivalent of darts’ ‘oche’ finds itself located in a World Heritage Site and we hope this will attract more international entrants. A daring Aussie has won it in the past, so anything is possible, especially as stone skimming is a pastime that transcends all cultural barriers and has an appeal for anyone with the child inside.”
Head to the All England Open Stone Skimming Championships at any time between 11am and 4pm on August 19 and you’ll be assured of great fun. Fell Foot Park can be found on the SATNAV at LA12 8NN. More information can be found at www.scrt.co.uk